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It’s almost that time of year again, time for giant pumpkins, giant slides, and giant horses strutting their stuff in the arena. The Topsfield Fair opens for the year on September 30 and runs through October 10, offering up a bounty of classic county fair fun.

For a complete look at the activities, events, and exhibits, visit But we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite highlights to whet your appetite for all the Topsfield Fair has to offer.

The giant pumpkin | Ongoing
This one may go without saying, but just in case: No trip to the Topsfield Fair is complete without snapping a photo with the truly enormous pumpkin that wins the first-day weigh-in. Last year’s winner came close to 2,100 pounds. The only-slight-less-enormous runners up will also be on display.

Model train | Ongoing
Kids and adults alike will be fascinated to watch the model railroad wend its way through the intricately detailed miniature landscape.

Edible adventures | Ongoing
Sure, there will be fried dough and cotton candy. But the Topsfield Fair offers plenty of chances to try something new, from chocolate-covered bacon on a stick or a pile of deep-fried Oreos to the Thanksgiving dinner sandwich or vinegar-dipper German fries.

Money pole | Daily
Let your kids show off the skills they’ve built on the playground by shimmying as high as they can up a 15-foot, vertical metal pole to see if they can touch the top and win a prize.

Swifty swine racing and swimming pigs | Daily
Pigs don’t always have the most athletic reputation, so the pig events offer some unexpected fun. Watch these porcine athletes paddle across a pool or scramble around a grassy track in hopes of winning a tasty Oreo.

Pet something adorable | Daily
From fuzzy chicks and plush bunnies to gawky calves and friendly goats, there are plenty of animals ready to receive a quick pat or scritch from their admirers.

Hot dog eating contest | Oct. 1, 3 p.m.
Watch hungry contestants vie to eat the most quarter-pound hot dogs – including buns – in a seven-minute period to win bragging rights and a $204 prize. Want in on the action? Line up at the stage at 2:30 p.m. to be one of the first 15 people to sign up to compete. And come with an empty stomach last year’s winner downed nine and a half hot dogs.

Parades | Oct. 1, 4, 5, and 6, 5 p.m.
Enjoy the fun and fanciful procession as floats and musicians wend their way through the fairgrounds. Mardi Gras beads, beach balls, and t-shirts are distributed to happy viewers.

Chubby Checker | Oct. 5, 7 p.m.
Come on baby, let’s do the Twist. Famed singer Chubby Checker will perform his hits and have everyone dancing and singing along with his Grandstand show.

Flying Wallendas | Oct. 8, 2 p.m. and Oct. 9, 2 p.m.
Prepare to gasp and grip your seat with some white knuckles as the iconic circus troupe performs its famously awe-inducing high-wire act, balancing, twirling, and leaping far above the ground.

Fair Fun for Everyone

On October 3, the fair will have a Sensory Day to accommodate attendees who have autism, sensory processing disorders, or any other conditions that make the sights and sounds of the fairgrounds overwhelming. Vendors and Kiddie Land will have no flashing lights, music, or announcements; shows and other entertainment will lower their sounds; and public address announcements will be limited and at lower volume.

The fair also offers a Kids’ Safe Zone: a small building that allows anyone in need of an escape from the crowds to relax and catch their breath.